Drug Possession, Criminal Charges and Penalties
The possession, use, distribution or sale of certain drugs is a crime. Punishments range from fines to many years in prison. These drugs are illegal because of health risks and because they are associated with violent crimes. Both the states and the federal system can prosecute drug crimes.
The Number of Illegal Drugs Is Increasing
Hundreds of drugs have been declared illegal by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and the state governments. The use of some drugs, such as codeine, is restricted to those with a prescription. The use of others, such heroin, is banned altogether. New drugs are regularly added to the list of banned or restricted substances.
Drug Users Face a Range of Charges
Using illegal drugs is considered less serious than selling them. A first offense of possessing a small amount of marijuana, for example, may not even result in jail time. Possession of any amount of cocaine, however, can be prosecuted as a felony and punished by several years in prison.
Possession of a restricted drug such as Oxycontin without a prescription can also be prosecuted as a felony. Other punishments include heavy fines, probation, and drug treatment programs. If an illegal drug crosses state lines, federal penalties apply – and these penalties are generally more severe than state law penalties.
Many Oxycodone offense cases involve false allegations. The police may notice the medication during a routine traffic stop and charge you with possession. If the amount of Oxycodone is over four grams, the police can charge you with drug trafficking. However, neither of these are valid allegations if you have a prescription for the medication or the pills were left over from a former prescription. If you have a prescription, having possession of the drugs is legal.
Drug Trafficking Dramatically Increases Penalties
Involvement in the drug trade is punished more severely than almost any other crime. If you have illegal drugs in large quantities, this is known as “possession with intent to distribute” – a type of drug trafficking offense. Other offenses include cultivation, manufacturing, sale, and distribution.
Florida State Drug Possession Penalties and Sentences
Florida state laws set a range of punishments for drug offenses. The potential punishment for a drug possession charge depends on the type of controlled substance, the type of charge, and the degree of the misdemeanor or felony. The sentence for a misdemeanor conviction depends on the degree of the charge. A second degree misdemeanor may lead to a sentence of imprisonment for up to sixty days, while a first degree misdemeanor can result in a sentence of up to one year.
In a drug possession case for a third degree felony, the term of imprisonment can last for up to five years and require a fine up to the amount of $5,000. However, a second degree felony charge may result in a term of imprisonment for up to fifteen years and a fine in an amount up to $10,000.
Florida state laws also require an increased sentence if the defendant has a violent criminal history with prior felony convictions; the state refers to these defendants as “career criminals” and “habitual felony offenders.” While the court cannot require an enhanced sentence when the current conviction is for drug possession, a felony conviction in the current case could affect future sentencing if the defendant faces additional charges.
Florida Drug Possession Statute
It is highly recommended to contact a criminal defense attorney for an updated information and specific laws involving your case.
West Palm Beach Drug Charges Attorney
Many drug crimes in Florida are subject to mandatory minimum prison sentences of at least three years. Even if you are not facing prison time, the arrest can have a profound effect on both you and your family. At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we will take a proactive approach in defending you.
Many drug cases can be resolved if your lawyer has you immediately perform community service and complete a short drug class, as it is essential that the state’s charging attorney understands what type of person you really are. Such actions also provide evidence that shows you are much more than what the law enforcement agent makes you out to be. By being proactive, we can often get a withhold of adjudication, which would preserve your driver’s license and keep you from having a criminal record.
If you face serious drug charges, lawyer Andrew Stine is experienced in attacking the government’s case against you. Drug cases often involve a confidential informant, who is usually another person who has been arrested on drug charges. By finding out who the confidential informant is—which we can in many cases—we may be able to do away with the state’s case. We can also seek to get drug evidence excluded, if the search and seizure was illegal.
Defense lawyer Andrew Stine handles all types of drug charges from simple possession to large scale trafficking of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, Oxycontyn, and other controlled substances. Being proactive in a drug case can often make the difference between facing felony or misdemeanor charges, or whether any charges are filed at all.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300 Se habla español.